The days here can drag a little. We try to stay busy at the school, but with things going so well it gets hard to spend too much time there. Lunch is around 1 most days and then most things are closed until around 4 when it starts to cool down just a bit. It leaves a good space for a nap in front of an oscillating fan that hardly does the trick. After 2 hours of rolling around to find the driest part of the sheet, we usually wake up a bit wrestless.
I got Eli to join me for a walk down to the market with no real goal in mind. After passing a few shops, and struggling to decide if the price of 40 cents which I was quoted for a small mirror was a good price or the toubab (white person) price, we managed to walk out of town town. We stopped at one last mango stand to grab some sustinance before exploring a path through some farms.
Wandering up and down the dunes, our goal always reaching the top of one to pick out the next, we decided to aim for the beach about seven kilometers from where we then were. First, we needed to stop to ask a farmer if we could use some water to wash off the mango juice which had run down our hands and arms. A 'yes' was a pretty safe bet since Muslims aren't supposed to refuse anyone water. Judging from the young farmer's reaction, another safe bet may be that we were the only two white people to ever set foot on that farm.
Minding our way through the patches of cacti and thorny vines, we headed in what we thought to be the right direction. Passing two men, as confused as the farmer by the white people in the desert, we doubled checked... and redirected slightly. Here we met a donkey.
They are all fairly focused in town, always at work, but this is under a cheap yoke and the threat of a whip. In the desert, no one around, he seemed to be quite interested in us and soon became slightly more threatening than those pulling the carts or the one befriended by Pooh Bear. We wondered if this one this was maybe an escaped donkey which now had a grudge against the species that enslaved him. After dancing for a while down a few different paths, a useless, dried vine in my hand, the donkey - which we totally could have taken on in a fight - lost interest and went a different way.
A while later, still not at the beach, we checked our path again with a woman passing by. This time, we were right on course, even after being rerouted by the donkey. We finally got to a strip of pine trees which we assumed signaled the nearness of the ocean. A ways a way, first thinking it was a pack of cats, I got to see my first group of monkeys - I didn't even know they had monkeys in this area. They paused to take a look at us but weren't as interested as the donkey.
Soon enough, we proved ourselves correct and found the ocean just beyond the trees. A part that we had never been to, we used our semi-keen sense of direction - a setting sun on the coast makes North and South pretty easy - to find our way back to a village where we could get a ride back.
We found Stephanie and James in the kitchen helping our land lord, Mohammed, cooking dinner. He had bough some of longest fish I'd ever seen - said it was related to sardines but these were about two feet long, not two inches. Everyone ate dinner on the roof to avoid the heat but eating large hot meals followed by boiling mint tea still takes its toll. We stayed up there for a while afterward but it was almost 11 and teaching began the next day. After staying long enough to be polite, we thanked our host and headed to bed for the secondtime that day.